Harrisville Harbor Of Refuge

Harrisville, Mich.

Published in the October 2019 Issue May 2020 Feature

Where do you go when you need a safe place to hide out? For some it’s a hidden nook or cranny in their home, for others the home of a loved one. However, when it comes to boating on the Great Lakes, what we consider a safe place tends to be the same across the board – a place where you can escape the rough waters of the lake you’re on and recuperate.

Located midway between the Straits of Mackinac and the Blue Water Bridge, Harrisville Harbor of Refuge is the perfect place for boaters to escape to, whether it be for a vacation or to take  a respite while traveling to your next destination. The name of Harrisville Harbor of Refuge speaks for itself. This is a harbor where boaters can find refuge no matter what their circumstances.

But what does it take to make a harbor a safe place to dock?

A Clean Environment

No boater wants to dock at a harbor only to go inside to use the facilities and find that their not well-cared for. Yet, it happens and frequently. Whether it be overflowing toilets, dirty showers, or trash piled on the marina, a gross environment has the tendency to shatter any illusions of comfort or safety. After all, if something as simple as the bathroom isn’t well-cared for, what else might be amiss? Luckily, boaters docking at Harrisville Harbor of Refuge will never need to ask themselves such questions, because the facility is always flawlessly clean.

“The facilities that we offer people who stop here are literally second to none in cleanliness,” shared Jim Ferguson, harbormaster at Harrisville Harbor of Refuge. “And I hear it all the time from boaters, ‘Harrisville Harbor is the cleanest harbor on the lakes, cleanest harbor in the state.’ That makes us unique, the way we keep this facility, the way the park-like setting here is maintained. It’s pin neat all the time.”

It isn’t just clean facilities that make up the environment of a place, but also the people you encounter. At the Harrisville Harbor of Refuge guests will always have the familiar face of harbormaster Jim Ferguson to welcome them and the assistance of his seasonal employees.

“I’m the only full-time employee as the harbormaster,” Ferguson shared. “I have an assistant who works probably six months out of the year. We hire high school kids, usually it’s juniors and seniors, and it’s usually their first job they’ve ever had. Most of them are on the honor roll and exceptional students, and we’re excited to have them, and they’re a thrill to work with. They keep me young.”

Constant Improvement

Harrisville Harbor of Refuge already has a lot to offer, but it will soon be improved upon with 2.5 million dollar project. The project has been underway since 2016 and includes the rebuild of everything on the site to modernize the facility.

However, the harbor is already full of new amenities to keep you and your party satisfied, including a full-service lounge with satellite TV, computers, Wi-Fi, and showers. Guests can expect to see the completion of the project in 2020.

Something For Everyone

The town of Harrisville hosts a wide variety of activities in the vicinity that are sure to keep everyone on board your vessel entertained. Access to bicycles and a shuttle provide access to the nearby town. The shuttle takes boaters anywhere they’d like to go, including local restaurants, shops, or even church. The town also just opened up a local brew house for craft beer and food, just a bit north of the harbor, which is quickly becoming a popular destination.

Adventurers will be excited to learn that Thunder Bay Marina sanctuary is just up the road from the harbor and hosts a slew of shipwrecks and offers glass bottom boat tours for those wishing to catch sight of the old vessels. There’s also plenty of access to canoeing and camping in the surrounding areas.

Only around 400 residents call Harrisville home year-round, making it an extremely tight-knit community. Up until Labor Day, the small town is packed with visitors and plenty of activities, including a parade and fireworks on the Fourth of July, the Sunrise Side Wine Festival, and an arts festival on Labor Day weekend.

No matter what you or your loved ones are interested in, there is something for every boater who decides to dock at Harrisville Harbor of Refuge. So get packing and rest assured that the perfect location is awaiting your arrival.

For More Information
Harrisville Harbor of Refuge


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